Yesterday I attended a continuing education program sponsored by The Library Network. The topic was Project Management, and it was fantastic!
They suggested a four-step method. I'm not going to re-hash the entire three-hour program, but in a nutshell, the four steps are:
1. Define Program/Project (purpose statement, audience, activities, outcomes, and logic model). Basically, in step one, you determine why the project or program is being done, who it is being done for, what needs it will address, how the program/project will be done, what the audience will gain from the project/program, and write it all out in a nice, neat spreadsheet "logic model."
2. Schedule & Budget
This keeps you focused on what needs to be done: people who need to be contacted, jobs that need to be completed, in what order, with deliverable dates. This includes pre-planning, day-of program, and follow-up activities. And, of course, how much it is all going to cost. You can include donations under budget.
Here, you determine how stakeholders in the project be kept up-to-date on the progress. You also plan here how the program or project will be marketed, promoted, and branded.
Now that the program or project is completed, it is important to measure its success. Were the intended outcomes achieved? You have to determine how to measure success. For example, you could survey users/attendees, count Facebook comments and re-tweets about the project or program, count how many people attended or used the service. It is important to point out the return on investment on programs and projects for transparency to Board members, staff, tax payers, and anyone else who may be interested.
From a practical standpoint, it all seems like a lot of paperwork. I would hesitate to ask any staff member to fill out all the forms we looked at in the class (and I certainly don't want to have to read all that paperwork for every program or project our staff undertakes!) That said, I do think it is a good exercise for any complex project or program and would encourage this level of focus and planning, whether it is all written out and turned in to the "powers that be" or not. If I were starting a huge project, I would definitely try to follow these steps informally to make sure I didn't forget anything important.
We're lucky in my library to have very specific roles in terms of programming, outreach, and public relations. In a smaller library where these roles are less defined, this would be much more important.
Overall, this was the best $10 my library has ever spent! I definitely got a lot out of it.